Electronic Retailer - April 2011 - (Page 52)

BY PETER MARINELLO CHANNEL CROSSING: ADVERTISING The Very Best of Ralph Nader In March, Advertising Age dedicated part of its “regulatory” edition to the importance of self-regulation in the marketplace. Rance Crain’s editorial entitled “How the Ad Industry Stayed Ahead of the Feds and Nader’s Raiders” presents a nice historical perspective of several of the most notorious advertising messages communicated over the years (“To prove Rapid Shave’s super-moisturizing power we put it right from the can onto this tough, dry sandpaper…”) and documents the critical role played by Ralph Nader (and his “Raiders”) in the 1960s, who vigorously contended that the ethical and moral standards of advertising had fallen into a great abyss and adamantly demanded that advertisers should have proof for their claims. It’s interesting to note that pre-1970 (and, pre-self-regulation, by the way), the burden of proof was on the alleging party (i.e., the FTC) to show that the advertising was misleading or deceptive. However, due to the exhaustive efforts of Nader’s Raiders, it became painfully apparent that the government lacked, among other things, the adequate resources to address some very real threats to consumer confidence in the advertising industry such as suggestive advertising, deceptive claims, price fixing and directly targeting vulnerable consumers. While the effect of Ralph Nader’s crusade continues to resonate, two subsequent events ushered the advertising industry into the brave new world in which it operates today. The first happened in 1971 with the creation of the National Advertising Review Council (NARC), which is the organization that oversees the Electronic Retailing SelfRegulation Program (ERSP), the selfregulatory forum for direct response advertising. NARC was comprised of four of the mightiest trade associations in the ad industry (The American Advertising Federation, the Association of National Advertisers, the American Association of Advertising Agencies and the Council of Better Business Bureaus) and provided the industry with a mechanism to effectively and responsibly regulate the appropriateness of advertising internally without the threat of government intervention; in essence, it showed consumers, businesses and regulatory agencies that the ad industry was committed to voluntary and meaningful selfregulation. Now, make no mistake, any system promising impactful self-regulation is fooling itself without a functional enforcement component. Fortunately for the advertising industry, the FTC was ready to provide the necessary back-up. The FTC made it very clear to the industry that if it was unable to effectively 52 electronicRETAILER | April 2011

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Electronic Retailer - April 2011

Electronic Retailer - April 2011
Contents
Calendar of Events
Your Association, Your Bottom Line
Industry Reports
FTC Forum
ERA Government Affairs Fly-In Preview
The Electronic HomeShopping Preview
eMarketer Research
IMS Retail Rankings
Jordan Whitney’s Top Categories
Lockard & Wechsler’s Clearance & Price Index
Ask the Expert
Cover Story: Staying Ahead of the Curve
Guest Viewpoint
Why is it Tougher to Make DRTV Pay?
Legal
Advertising
Payment Processing
Advertiser Spotlight
Bulletin Board
Advertiser Index
Classifieds
Rick Petry

Electronic Retailer - April 2011

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